“Let Food Be Thy Medicine and Let Medicine Be Thy Food!”
We’ve all heard this famous quote before, so much so that maybe it sounds a bit cliché. It’s not cliché, it’s very real and a rule I think we should all live by. Aside from just providing us with energy, various foods have been proven to prevent, reduce, manage and reverse many health issues. That’s a powerful thing! That means at every grocery store, farmer’s market and back yard garden, we have an ENTIRE pharmacy at our finger tips….and we don’t even need a prescription to go! That’s awesome!
For today I am delving into a health issue that I personally deal with and how I use food to help with prevention. That issue is headaches!
I’ve dealt with migraines since I was a child. If you’ve ever had a migraine or other type severe headache, you know that the pain can be unbearable. In the moment all you want is relief. I’ve been there many times and I can tell you, its no picnic.
So what causes headaches in the first place? Headaches can occur as a result of many different things: stress, withdrawal, concussion, dehydration, “brain-freeze”, anxiety and more. There are different kinds of headaches that fall under primary and secondary categories. Tension headaches and migraines are the two most common. Many alternative treatments for headaches exist, but of course I will be highlighting the superfood treatment.
Headache sufferers have been found to get relief by including various foods and nutrients in their diet. One of my favorites is Dark Chocolate!
Dark chocolate is made from the seed of a cocoa tree. Aside from tasting great, it has numerous benefits. Since it is loaded with fiber, magnesium, iron, copper, is flavonoid rich and high in antioxidants, it’s benefits include (but definitely not limited to):
- Increases HDL blood pressure and protects LDL oxidation
- Increases cognitive function
- Fights Fatigue
- Decreases risk of cardiovascular disease
- Improves memory and risk of Alzheimer’s
- Reduces stress
….and the list goes on.
One of the main reasons dark chocolate can be used to prevent and decrease symptoms of headaches is due to its high magnesium content. Magnesium is one of the most commonly used minerals for migraine management. It is found in our body tissue and that includes our brains. Stress (one cause of and response to headaches) drains magnesium from the body, so what better way to relieve stress and prevent migraine and headache pain then to eat Dark Chocolate!
Now it is important to note that
1) Dark chocolate should be at least 70% cocoa to reap benefits
2) Make sure you are not allergic
3) It should be consumed in moderation as too much can negate the benefits**
There are of course other magnesium rich and nutrient dense foods that can also fight inflammation and build body’s defenses. I strongly believe we should consume as many as we can. We are the supervisors of our bodies and our health. Therefore, we have the power to build the strongest bodies we can!
Now, It’s recipe time!!
Here are two awesome Dark Chocolate and Fig recipes. These recipes supply a “one-two punch” of headache relief. Figs are loaded with potassium, another headache fighters.
Dark Chocolate Covered Figs
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (brands without milk fat as ingredient, such as Enjoy Life™)
12 fresh Black Mission figs
1/4 cup finely chopped raw walnuts
Melt chocolate in double boiler or microwave.
Dip figs into melted chocolate, sprinkle with nuts and place on parchment-lined pan.
Refrigerate about 30 minutes, until chocolate & nuts are set and figs are cold.
Salted Caramel & Dark Chocolate Figs
12 large toothpicks
12 dried figs
4 ounces fresh goat cheese
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 package (11 ounces) Kraft caramel bits
2 tablespoons water
1/3 cup finely chopped almonds
1-1/2 cups dark chocolate chips, melted
Coarse sea salt
Line a baking sheet with waxed paper and grease the paper; set aside.
Insert a toothpick into each fig. Make a 1/2-inch cut on the side of each fig. Combine the cheese, honey and vinegar in a small bowl. Transfer to a heavy-duty re-sealable plastic bag; cut a small hole in a corner of bag. Pipe cheese mixture into figs.
Melt caramels and water in a microwave; stir until smooth. Dip each fig into caramel; turn to coat. Place on prepared pan; let stand until set. Place almonds in a small, shallow bowl. Dip bottom third of each fig into melted chocolate; allow excess to drip off. Dip into almonds and sprinkle with salt. Return to pan; let stand until set.
Eat Well & Enjoy!